The first African-American to have a longer-term stay at the International Space Station, Victor Glover and his fellow SpaceX astronauts landed back on earth yesterday.
Having left earth on November 15, Glover spent six months at the Space Station as part of a joint science mission between NASA and SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk.
“One thing that did really profoundly impact me was the very first time I got out of the seat after [our spacecraft] was safely in orbit, and I looked out the window and saw the Earth from 250 miles up,” Glover said a few days ago, during a remote press conference.
“I will never forget that moment … It was how the view made me feel … the Earth is amazing. It’s beautiful. It protects us, and so we should work hard to protect it.”
While orbiting the Earth, Glover tweeted to encourage people to be “good stewards of our one and only planet” (echoing the language of Genesis 1), as well as his reminder of Psalm 30 when he watched sunrises and sunsets from the ISS.
Celebrating #EarthDay this year from the @Space_Station has raised my awareness of its beauty and function. I challenge each of you to do something today (and often) for the benefit of our planet. Let’s be good stewards of our one and only, planet Earth! pic.twitter.com/bLZW1PpBFY
— Victor Glover (@AstroVicGlover) April 22, 2021
I love sunrises and sunsets. Can you see the bands of color? They remind me of the scripture in Psalm 30, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” It seems darkest just before sunrise. I wish you all love and light. Goodnight from the @Space_Station. pic.twitter.com/YP9Hb3JZoH
— Victor Glover (@AstroVicGlover) January 13, 2021
A member of the Church of Christ in Houston, Texas, Glover told The Christian Chronicle before he blasted off about how he wants to “use the abilities that God has given me to do my job well and support my crewmates and mission and NASA”.
Having worked for NASA for seven years, astronaut Glover took his Bible to the International Space Station, as well as communion items. He also planned to participate in online church from the great beyond because the wi-fi connection is robust.
“So honestly, I will probably continue in what we’ve been doing: virtual service, virtual giving, reading my Bible and praying,” Glover said.
Since the 1960s, about 570 people have been to space but Glover is the first black Astronaut on a longer mission.
“It is bittersweet because I’ve had some amazing colleagues before me that really could have done it, and there are some amazing folks that will go behind me,” Glover told The Christian Chronicle. “I wish it would have already been done, but I try not to draw too much attention to it.”
There is a long history of religious practitioners in space and Glover invited us all to turn to the heavens when looking for answers during difficult situations (not limited to space missions).
“There are so many really simple lessons from the Bible,” said Glover. “To love God first and foremost, to love yourself – have a healthy love of yourself and then to love your brother as yourself.
“If all of us are doing that, so many of these other issues that we allow to divide us stop becoming barriers to relationships.”